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Cowboys struggle through another subpar first half

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Joey Graham, John Lucas III and the
Oklahoma State Cowboys just needed a little time to get warmed up.

Graham scored 25 points, Lucas added 17 and Oklahoma State (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) recovered from another subpar first half to beat Sam Houston State
73-57 Saturday night.

Graham scored 18 points in the second half and Lucas had 14
after the break to help the Cowboys (3-0) overcame a six-point
halftime deficit.

Graham had two crucial baskets off offensive rebounds and Lucas
was strong from 3-point range to fuel Oklahoma State's offense
while the Bearkats (1-4) kept pushing.

The Cowboys started their run after trailing 41-40 with 13½
minutes to play. Graham's brother, Stephen Graham, capped a 12-3
run with a two-handed jam only one possession after his brother
kept the spurt going with an offensive rebound tip-in amid a crowd
of Bearkats.

"We've just been sluggish coming out the gate," Cowboys
associate head coach Sean Sutton said. "It's not a very good
pattern to get in. We better get that changed as we continue to
go."

In its last game, Oklahoma State was up by one point at halftime
before routing Arkansas-Little Rock 90-65.

In that game -- and this one, too -- once Lucas got rolling, the
Cowboys were on their way to victory. But this time, Joey Graham
found his touch, too.

Lucas' 3-pointer from the top of the key made it 57-48. On the
next possession, it was Joey Graham putting back Lucas' miss to
stretch the lead again.

"In the first half, I kind of got the feeling that they weren't
going to box me out," said Joey Graham, who had seven of his nine
rebounds -- including five on the offensive end -- after halftime.
"So, the second half I knew I just had to come out, be aggressive
and attack the glass and that's exactly what I did."

With the shot clock about to expire, Lucas hit another 3 to make
it 64-53 and spark another Cowboys spurt. Following free throws by
both Graham brothers, the lead extended to 70-53 and the Cowboys
were easily in control with 2 minutes to play.

"At some point in any game, no matter how hard you hold John
Lucas down, he is capable of hitting a big shot or shots that will
get the Cowboys going," Bearkats coach Bob Marlin said.

But the Bearkats, who already had losses to Houston, Marquette
and Binghamton, gave the Cowboys an unexpected test early on.

They led 16-12 in the opening minutes and opened a 30-22 lead
late in the first half on the strength of 8-for-15 3-point
shooting. Othello Alford came off the bench to lead the charge for
Sam Houston State with 11 first-half points on 3-for-6 shooting
from 3-point range.

"I thought that we had the game where we wanted it and with
about 7 minutes to go, the game slipped away," Marlin said.

Alford scored only two points in the second half to finish with
a team-high 13. Joe Thompson added 12 points, Aaron Wade had 11 and
Eddy Fobbs scored 10 for the Bearkats.

Ivan McFarlin had 12 points for Oklahoma State.